1000 [JAN KLARE / BART MARIS / WILBERT DE JOODE / MICHAEL VATCHER] – Anthems to Work on a Good End (Umland Records 0001; Germany)
1000 features Jan Klare on reeds, Bart Maris on trumpet, Wilbert de Joode bass and Michael Vatcher on drums & percussion). This appears tone the fourth disc from 1000, each previous one was on a different label: Leo, Red Toucan and Skycap. This quartet is or was Netherlands-based and includes German saxist Jan Klare (2 CD’s on Leo) and Dutch trumpeter Bart Maris who has worked with two great progressive bands: Univers Zero and Blast. In-demand bassist Wilbert De Joode, has appeared on more than fifty releases throughout his long career.
The idea behind this disc is certainly an odd one: most of the 20 pieces are based on the national anthems of Afganistan (7 versions) and Cambodia (5 versions) plus one each by China and Syria. The liner notes go on at length to describe the histories of Cambodia and Afganistan, since have had several anthems due to whomever was in power during different periods. The anthems were selected more for their unique melodies and we researched by members of the quartet. There are also three short group improv found throughout this disc which add a nice balance to the skeletal songlike structures of the varied anthems. The melodies to the Cambodian anthems do have a proud, folky sort of flavor and the quartet do a fine job of adding bits of sly, swagger to certain songs and capturing the rich,yet subtle melodies in a more reverent way, often stripping things down to their bare essentials. The quartet keep things often more calm without pushing things very far out. I love the way Mr. Vatcher uses subtle percussion like shakers or bells just to add minimal seasoning. This allows some of the more ancient (sounding) melodies to ring true. At times poignant and ever-enchanting. Had I not know that the quartet were playing any anthems, I might not have thought this was the case. Either way, the results are still most charming with some unexpected twists and turns. –
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery